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Matriculating 2015

  • Alysia R. Bryll

    Alysia R. Bryll

    Hometown: Springfield, MA

    Undergraduate College: Mount Holyoke College, 2013

    Thesis Research Lab: Dr. Craig Peterson

    Clinical Interests: Pathology

  • Amy Cheung

    Amy Cheung

    Amy Cheung is a 5th year MD/PhD student at UMass Chan Medical School. She graduated from Stony Brook University in 2014 with a BS in Biology, Neuroscience specialization. Before entering the MD/PhD program in 2015, she spent one additional year continuing her research in the lab of Dr. Alfredo Fontanini at Stony Brook University to investigate sensory cue priming of taste processing.

    Amy is interested in neural mechanisms contributing to the output of different behaviors. She rotated in the labs of Drs. Dorothy Schafer (microglia-neuron interactions), Andrew Tapper (addiction) and Judson Brewer (mindfulness). She is currently in the lab of Dr. Kensuke Futai where she works on her thesis project focused on the role of neurexin in serotonin synaptic function and social behavior. Outside of the lab, Amy is involved in community health initiatives and lifestyle interventions for individuals living with severe mental illness- particularly schizophrenia, bipolar disorder and major depression- in our Worcester community. She also enjoys cooking, baking and walking.

  • Eric Ding

    Eric Ding

    Eric graduated from University of California, San Diego with a BS in biochemistry and psychology, as well as an MS in biology. His thesis work in the regulation of cardiac molecular signaling during ischemic stress sparked a strong interest in research and led him to the MD/PhD program at UMMS. During medical school, Eric explored many different avenues of research through rotations, including social media based behavioral interventions with Dr. Sherry Pagoto and mitochondrial autophagy with Dr. Eric Baehrecke.

    Eric ultimately embraced the exciting opportunity to merge his background in programming and software design with research in improving health conditions and outcomes, specifically in cardiovascular disease. He is mentored by Dr. David McManus and is currently working on his PhD, leveraging biosensors on novel technologies like smartwatches to aid in the diagnosis and management of cardiac arrhythmias.

  • Chantal Ferguson

    Chantal Ferguson

    Chantal Ferguson is a graduate of Wesleyan University with a BA in Neuroscience. At Wesleyan, she perfumed research in Dr. Stephen Devoto’s neuromuscular development lab, studying the genetic regulatory network involved in zebrafish neuromuscular development. After graduating college, Chantal performed research in the Breast Cancer Center at Massachusetts General Hospital, focusing on treatment related complications, outcomes, and patient care.

    As she embarked on her MD/PhD at UMass Chan Medical School (UMMS), Chantal's passion for studying neurological diseases combined with her interest in RNA interference led her to Dr. Anastasia Khvorova’s lab in the RNA Therapeutics Institute. The Khvorova lab develops and chemically optimizes short interfering RNAs (siRNAs) for CNS delivery. Chantal’s thesis project focuses on developing and using siRNAs to understand the relationship between Apolipoprotein E and neurodegeneration. Chantal’s clinical interests include neurology and interventional radiology. 

  • Erica R. Kwiatkowski

    Erica R. Kwiatkowski

    Erica R. Kwiatkowski is a graduate of Grinnell College with a BA in Biological Chemistry. As a high-school student and undergraduate, she conducted research in neurobiology at Harvard Medical School and Children's Hospital Boston, studying autophagy and circadian rhythms in the context of tuberous sclerosis in the lab of Dr. Mustafa Sahin.

    She matriculated at UMassMed in 2015 and completed rotations in the labs of LABS. Currently, she is a PhD candidate in the lab of Dr. Patrick Emery in the department of neurobiology. She is investigating the molecular mechanisms of circadian behaviors in Drosophila melanogaster, focusing on circadian regulation of RNA through RNA-binding proteins and RNA modifications.

  • Grace A. Masters

    Grace A. Masters

    Hometown: Stowe, MA

    Undergraduate College: Cornell University, 2010

    Thesis Research Lab: Dr. Nancy Byatt/ Lifeline for Moms

    Clinical Interests: CL psychiatry, reproductive psychiatry, abortion care and access

    Hobbies: Reading, cooking/eating, playing with my cats, crossword puzzles, attempting to play golf

    Post-graduation Destination: MGH/McLean psychiatry residency

  • Nicholas D. Peterson

    Nicholas D. Peterson

    Nicholas Peterson is a graduate of St. John’s University (Minnesota), with a BA in Biochemistry. Prior to joining the UMASS MD/PhD program, Nicholas conducted research in the laboratory of Dr. Tony Baughn at the University of Minnesota. During his time in the Baughn laboratory, Nicholas performed mycobacteriology research. Specifically, he characterized the resistance mechanisms of the first line M. tuberculosis drug pyrazinamide.

    Nicholas has a strong interest in host-pathogen interactions and innate immune activation. Currently, he is in his third year of graduate research in Dr. Read Pukkila-Worley’s laboratory. In the Pukkila-Worley laboratory, Nicholas is using the model organism, C. elegans, to investigate evolutionarily conserved aspects of intestinal immunity. In particular, Nicholas is characterizing a new mechanism of pathogen sensing by nuclear hormone receptors in C. elegans intestinal epithelial cells. Long-term, Nicholas’s goal is to become an infectious disease physician-scientist and lead a basic science laboratory that focuses on elucidating the mechanisms of host-pathogen interactions and innate immune activation.

  • James L. Shen

    James L. Shen

    James L. Shen is a graduate of Brandeis University with a BS in Biology and BA in Chemistry with specialization in chemical biology. Before matriculating into the MD/PhD Program at UMass Chan Medical School in 2015, he conducted research in Circadian Rhythms in the lab of Michael Rosbash. He also conducted research in melanoma in the lab of Rutao Cui at Boston University.

    His current interests lie in investigating the role of mitochondrial size and dynamics in autophagy. He finished rotations in the lab of Eric Baehrecke and Junhao Mao. He chose Eric Baehrecke as his thesis mentor and is currently in his 2nd year as a PhD student.